Shaking Off Chapter 11, Shuttered Pasadena Playhouse Reaches for the Future

News   Shaking Off Chapter 11, Shuttered Pasadena Playhouse Reaches for the Future
Pasadena Playhouse announced on July 8 that its reorganization plan was approved by the United States Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles, and the theatre has emerged from Chapter 11 after nearly two months.

Bolstered by a $1 million matching gift, the not-for-profit's supporters are working on raising money for the future "We are deeply grateful for the collective support that has allowed the Playhouse to expeditiously move through this difficult and sometimes painful process," Pasadena Playhouse executive director Stephen Eich said in a statement. "On this journey we found a new meaning to the word collaboration. The indefatigable efforts of our pro bono legal team Munger, Tolles, and Olson LLC, led by Thomas Walper, our pro bono financial advisors Alvarez & Marsal, led by Matt Kvarda, the City of Pasadena, our Board of Directors, and our small staff have all combined to create a plan to resurrect the Playhouse from years of unbearable debts. Although we will be moving slowly in the future to ensure financial responsibility and stability, we will in fact be back."

Eich also acknowledged the Playhouse's subscribers and donors, many of whom have contributed money to ensure the future of the theatre. He said, "Without these loyal people, we would not be able to get through this difficult phase of the theatre's rebirth. Their generosity — both monetary and in spirit — have underscored the tremendous support and need for our theatre and have helped us to keep moving forward towards our goal of restoring the Playhouse to the premier theatrical destination for both the City of Pasadena and the State of California."

Earlier this year, Pasadena Playhouse received a matching pledge of $1 million by anonymous donors who read the news about the Playhouse's decision to explore financial reorganization. The donors expressed how they were "moved by the Playhouse's desire to make the comprehensive courageous choices that were necessary to help the State Theater of California restructure its administrative operations in an effort to rid itself of long-standing debt," according to a Playhouse statement. "It was the donors' want and need to help with the emergence of Pasadena Playhouse and their hope that others will step forward immediately to support the Playhouse's essential on-going fundraising efforts to match or exceed their $1 million gift."

Pasadena Playhouse artistic director Sheldon Epps said in a statement, "We cannot fully enough express our profound gratitude to the precious anonymous $1 million donors, whose remarkably generous gift — and indeed the challenge to match that gift which comes with their pledge — will allow our beloved theatre to stand strong and proud as we move forward. …This care and concern for this theatre and our work will allow the Playhouse to very soon get back to what it does best, which is filling our beautiful and glorious house with the art of the theatre."

Future plans, including a fall 2010 production, will be announced at a later date. *

Pasadena Playhouse was established in 1917. In recent years, the Playhouse has launched new works and notable revivals. Highlights since 2005 include the launch of the national tour of Purlie (with the Goodman Theatre), the world premiere of Sister Act the Musical (with the Alliance Theatre, which is now in London's West End), the world premiere of Ray Charles Live! (scheduled to open on Broadway as Unchain My Heart in 2010-11), and the world premiere of Looped starring Valerie Harper.

The last production was a revised revival of the large-cast musical Camelot featuring eight actors.


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